• Most comprehensive story yet on Jeffrey Alan Lash, the “secret agent” “alien” found dead in his car in July, 2015
  • $5 million worth of guns and $230,000 were found at his condo, and there may be more
  • Interviews and transcripts with lawyers and other who knew or had met Lash
  • ATF explains why massive personal arsenal did not raise red flags
  • Radio host George Noory addresses Lash “alien” rumors

Why would a dying man lie about what will happen to his dead body?

He gave his fiancée very precise instructions about how to handle his corpse whenever he finally lost his fight to live. On July 3, 2015 he collapsed in the parking lot of an upscale Los Angeles grocery store. After she and others tried and failed to resuscitate his body, his fiancé did as she was told. She wrapped his body in dry ice and blankets. Then she left it in an SUV parked on a long, hilly, residential street in Pacific Palisades. She trusted that his super-secret black ops agency would find and dispose of his body. The next day, the Fourth of July, she and her personal assistant blended into the holiday traffic and got the hell out of town. They drove to Oregon and hid out while they mourned.

Catherine Nebron-Gorin had prepared. She knew this day would come. She was not a well-trained CIA agent like her dead fiancé had claimed he was, but she did have a personal mantra to motivate her.

“If he can, I can.”

Back in California, the personal assistant’s mother grew worried when she didn’t hear from her daughter. Days passed. On July 10th she filed a missing person’s report. The bulletin went national: “Woman missing under suspicious circumstances.”

Four days later, a deputy from an Oregon sheriff department found her car and located her at a hotel. She said her name was Dawn Marie VadBunker. Twenty minutes later the woman’s mother, Laura, awoke to a phone call and learned that her daughter was no longer missing. She’d been found safe in Oregon.

Laura VadBunker

Laura VadBunker’s Facebook Post Announcing the Good News (notice that she adds: “This story is not over.”)

The next day, Catherine Nebron-Gorin left her personal assistant, Dawn Marie, and traveled to Los Angeles alone. A handwritten letter from Dawn Marie was sent to her family. The postmark was July 15, and it was mailed from Sacramento. California’s capital city is halfway between Oregon and Los Angeles, on your way south if you take the interstate. The letter let Dawn Marie’s worried mother know that she was “with like-minded people” in a place “where she could heal.” It was the last her mother would hear from her.

On July 17 Nebron-Gorin returned home to find her fiancé’s body right where she left it, in the SUV, in the summer sun, partially mummified in blankets. She phoned her lawyer. She told him what had occurred. He called the LAPD and told the cops where they could find a dead body.

The next morning international headlines blared: 1,200 guns. $230,000 in cash. Dead body found in SUV. Left to rot for weeks. Parked on the street in wealthy L.A. neighborhood.

(courtesy of the Palisadian-Post / photo by Rich Schmitt

(courtesy of the Palisadian-Post / photo by Rich Schmitt

Some of the $230,000 along with the LAPD

Some of the $230,000 along with the LAPD’s money counter (courtesy of the Palisadian-Post / photo by Rich Schmitt)

(courtesy of the Palisadian-Post / photo by Rich Schmitt)

(courtesy of the Palisadian-Post / photo by Rich Schmitt)

Rumors quickly followed. The dead man claimed he was an alien hybrid. He said he was a super-spy fighting to save the world. He confided in a trusted few. He told them he worked with a black ops agency—one that dealt with aliens.

Nebron-Gorin’s lawyer warned the world: “He could have been working for anyone.” It was soon reported the dead man might have had multiple storage units around Los Angeles. No one knows for sure how many, but they were thought to contain more guns, along with survivalist toys like amphibious assault vehicles and modified SUVS with bulletproof glass.

(courtesy of the Palisadian-Post / photo by Rich Schmitt)

(courtesy of the Palisadian-Post / photo by Rich Schmitt)

(courtesy of the Palisadian-Post / photo by Rich Schmitt)

(courtesy of the Palisadian-Post / photo by Rich Schmitt)

A waiter named Francesco Schiff came forward. He told news reporters the dead man obsessively ate at the same restaurant, Casa Nostra, with a regular and reliable pattern. He always ordered raw filet mignon. The dead man believed it was important to eat a diet rich in bloody cuts of meat. Just before he died, he was reportedly eating raw buffalo steaks.

His raw meat diet supported online theories that he was an alien hybrid. Most certainly, part-Reptilian. There are vast, complex theories about shape-shifting aliens who have conspired for centuries to rule the earth, disguised as the elite and royal families. The shape-shifting aliens are called Reptilians.

The alien talk about the dead man came from Laura VadBunker, the personal assistant’s worried mother. She told the press that she was frightened for her daughter because Dawn Marie VadBunker had told her that her boss was an alien. In fact, she’d said he was a Reptilian and his fiancee was also an alien, from a water planet. The VadBunker daughter claimed she’d seen him change into his Reptilian alien form.

But now, Dawn Marie VadBunker is no longer talking to the press. Or anyone. In a twist that fits this strange story, ever since law enforcement officers called her mother and declared her daughter was no longer a missing person, Dawn Marie VadBunker’s been missing. Or in hiding, depending on whom you ask. Other than that one handwritten letter sent from Sacramento, she still has not contacted her family.

When I started my investigation a few weeks after his death, the body of the deceased was listed in the coroner’s office as a John Doe. It was being held for identification by the LAPD. The autopsy had yet to be released. Naturally, this fueled speculation. Suspicious folks in online forums said, obviously, it’s because the dead man is half-alien, and the LAPD still hasn’t figured out how to cover this all up.

Others, not as skeptical, or paranoid—instead just merely cynical—say there’s no autopsy because the dead man has no next of kin, and the LAPD would like to keep his $5 million cache of guns. This would obviously be easier to do with a John Doe.

You may be wondering: did you just say his 1,200 guns are worth $5 million dollars? And hold up—1,200 guns? Why aren’t the feds involved? Shouldn’t the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) be all over the mysterious death of a man who had a small arsenal in his L.A. condo? And who will get all those guns?

More on that later.

For now, a glass menagerie of cousins (nine at last count) has come forward to lay claim to the estate of their dearly departed cousin, the mystery man at the middle of this tale, because $5 million tends to grab hold of folks’ attention.

This story is so unrelentingly strange some part of it must be true. Every bit of this story that I investigate, every fact I check only makes the mystery grow deeper and weirder.

When you consider all the questions this man’s story raises, you wind up with an investigation into what we believe, what we want to believe, and how others will try to control what we believe for their benefit. This story says more about us than it will ever reveal about the dead man at the center of it. But there are answers. There is truth to be found inside the swirl of this bizarre mystery.

Was this man what he claimed to be: an alien-human-hybrid superspy who needed a 1,200-gun arsenal and multiple assault vehicles to protect the world from extraterrestrial invasion?

Or was he just another obsessive gun-stroke, an American eccentric who wrote for obscure websites, who shrouded himself with lawyers and abused people’s love of mystery and desire to feel important as he seductively spread fear – a sociopath who enriched his life using his very human powers of manipulation?

A woman who knew him said it’s either one or the other. There is no third way.

His neighbors called him Skinny Bob. But when he was born on Dec. 3, 1954, his parents named him Jeffrey Alan Lash.

(Via KTLA / DMV photo of Jeffrey Alan Lash in his 40s)

(Via KTLA / DMV photo of Jeffrey Alan Lash in his 40s)

“You cannot depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”

—Mark Twain “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court”

There’s one man who might be able to help me make sense of all the alien oddness of this story: George Noory. He’s the host of “Coast to Coast”, the AM talk radio show that focuses on the paranormal, the extraterrestrial and the strange. I’m betting he may have heard a story like this before.

When I call Noory, he’s friendly, open and cooperative. He’s also quick to say, “What a bizarre story you’re tracking.” He tells me he’s never heard a story like this before. Ever. I ask about his show’s callers. What’s their reaction? He tells me, like him, they’re flabbergasted.

“Has anyone mentioned Jeffrey Lash’s father?” I ask.

Noory says not yet. I lay out a theory I found in an online forum. Lash’s father was a microbiologist who founded his own lab and was its director for 30 years. But when little Jeffrey was born, his father was working with a sex change surgeon named Dr. Elmer Belt.

That same doctor would later found the Da Vinci library at UCLA. For some folks online, this association with Dr. Belt alone lends credibility to the theory the dead man really was an alien-human hybrid. One created here on Earth by his father’s sex change pioneering boss. Wild, right?

All of this is news to Noory. He tells me how microbiologists have been turning up dead. Often suspicious circumstances are involved. He tells me if I Google it there’s plenty of discussion about it online. He and his listeners have been speculating about whether the deaths of microbiologists are meant to reduce our chances of creating an antidote. But an antidote to what, they’re not sure.

Noory also mentions that natural medicine doctors have been dying in suspicious ways. They’ve been reporting on that story for the last three weeks. He tells me, “Some of them died after the feds raided their offices; it’s very strange.”

One thing is certain: plenty of people die or go missing, and their deaths leave those close to them perplexed. The idea that the government or secret forces might be responsible becomes a legit possibility to them. For some, it’s almost soothing to believe a loved one died for a higher cause, done in by evil forces.

Noory tells me, “Here’s my big quote on the Lash story: it’s absolutely bizarre. The fact of the matter is: he had munitions, he had ammunition, and he had a lot of cash stored away … how does someone accumulate all that?”

The city of Oxnard is roughly 45 minutes north of Los Angeles. I head north on the 101 Freeway, and I’m stoked when it doesn’t take me long to drive there in the middle of the day on a weekday. These things matter in Los Angeles.

Once you crest the Santa Monica Mountains, up there at the top of the valley, the land below you looks like an art student painted an idealized landscape—patchworks of agriculture lay across the land like a family blanket.

The descent into Camarillo is so steep it feels surreal. Down at the bottom of the mountain, you go left to the coast, and Oxnard waits for you.

When I locate the VadBunker house, it looks so suburban it feels like a memory. Like, I’ve seen it before, only in the Northern California town where I grew up. It feels that familiar. The family is in the backyard, enjoying the early afternoon. I feel bad interrupting them. But I knock anyway.

A middle-aged man answers the door, and I greet him with, “You must be David.”

This immediately sounds rather creepy both to him and me. I tell him I called earlier and ask if I can speak with his wife, Laura. Bewildered by the disadvantage of how much I know about him and his wife compared to how little he knows about me, he stands there, unsure what to do or say. Watching me with a wary eye, he tells me, “Laura’s not home.”

Friendly as I can muster, I reassure him, “I’m a journalist, doing a story on Jeffrey Lash. I’d just like to ask her some questions.” I give him my card and ask that he tell Laura I’d like to interview her. He inspects it and says she might call later.

Standing at the VadBunker family home makes me reluctant to entertain most of the conspiracy theories surrounding the case. Folks online have been spinning so much out of so little. There’s very little structure in their theories. Like spun sugar, they crumble if you touch them. Yet the research is often exemplary.

For a quick moment I wish some of them could be where I am standing, seeing what I’m seeing and immediately understand how vastly different a man looks in his doorway than he looks online, frozen in a snapshot from Facebook.

A day later, Laura VadBunker calls me. She wants to know what I want to know from her. I say I’m curious about Dawn Marie, and I want to hear a mother’s insight into her daughter. She confides that she just adopted Dawn Marie earlier this year. I confess that I knew that, and I find it all rather fascinating. Laura VadBunker warms up and says that if I want to speak with her, now’s the time. She has a half-hour. Maybe.

Dawn Marie came into the VadBunker’s life because of love. Laura tells Dawn Marie’s sad strange story like a reality TV fairy tale gone horribly awry. “She was dating our son. We helped her and her daughters get a house. But then, he (Laura’s son, Dawn Marie’s husband) left. She lost the house. She lost the car. Just about everything.”

But unlike every other time in her life, this time when Dawn Marie stumbled, the VadBunkers were there to catch her. They knew she’d had a tough childhood, one shaped by abuse, and that Dawn Marie was no longer in touch with her birth mother. She’d married into the VadBunker family. And even though she annulled her marriage to their son, after knowing Dawn Marie for seven years, on March 27, 2015, the VadBunkers made their feelings official and adopted Dawn Marie, a 39-year old single mother of two. She was now her former husband’s legal sister.

Dawn Marie VadBunker

Dawn Marie VadBunker

Very soon after she was adopted she began to help take care of Jeffrey Alan Lash. The VadBunkers noticed how their new daughter changed. It all started with her new job. And her time spent with the man she called Bob.

Laura tells me Dawn Marie first got her job working for Catherine Nebron-Gorin as her personal assistant. She needed help running her real estate holdings. It was nothing massive, or growing, but Nebron-Gorin needed someone to help manage it. Laura says that she still has boxes of contracts and other legal paperwork for Nebron-Gorin’s properties, ones that Dawn Marie had brought home and left there.

For the first few years she worked for her, Dawn Marie never met Nebron-Gorin or her mysterious fiancé. This seems odd, and I ask her to clarify. She can’t explain it, and to make sense of it all she chalks it up to the aura of secrecy that surrounded Nebron-Gorin and Lash. Eventually, Dawn Marie began to meet with Nebron-Gorin at coffee shops to exchange paperwork. As Laura remembers it, roughly six months ago, Dawn Marie was finally brought into the true inner circle of trust. She met Bob, aka Jeffrey Alan Lash.

Laura says Dawn Marie’s personality shifted. Her beliefs morphed. Her diet changed. She wanted to only eat raw foods. Dawn Marie said this was at Bob’s suggestion. He only ate raw meat. It had to have blood in it.

Dawn Marie boasted to Laura about how important she was in Bob’s life, telling her mother, “I’m healing him. I’m helping to save the world.” She also told her adoptive family strange stories about her secretive new boss. Laura didn’t know what to make of this. Soon enough, she met Bob for herself.

Trained as a healer, Laura was called in to perform a Reiki healing on Bob. It was a Thursday. She sat in an SUV with him, read his energy and tried to provide what healing she could. Laura tells me, “He was the sickest alive man I’ve ever seen.”

It was clear to her Bob was dying “and there was nothing we could do about it.” He could barely move. He had to be helped in and out of the vehicle where she performed the Reiki healing. Bob asked her to come back and perform a second pass of healing energy. Those were the only two times she met the fiancé of her adopted daughter’s boss.

I ask Laura what Bob was like. She thinks a moment. “He was extremely bright. And he would tell you stories, and then tell you if you passed his test—and I didn’t know I was being tested. He was quite charming, I thought.”

I have to ask, “You met Bob. You read his energy. Do you think he was a half-alien?”

“I’ve thought about this for a long time. Either he believed this one hundred percent, or he’s one hundred percent sociopath. It’s one, or the other. There is no third way.” Laura says this without equivocation.

“Dawn Marie believed that Bob, aka Jeffrey Lash, was a legit hybrid alien?” I ask, trying to make sense of what each woman believes.

“One day she came home very emotional and crying. She said, ‘There’s a God, there’s a God, there’s a God.’ I said, ‘OK … what’s going on?’ And she says ‘I saw Bob, and really, he has yellow eyes. He’s got like a reptilian body.’ And I said, ‘How did this happen?’ And she tells me ‘I saw him in the SUV like that.’ And I’m like, ‘OK…’ So, I started being very careful with her, mentally and emotionally. I saw major changes in six weeks that I could not explain. She was devoted to Catherine and Bob,” Laura says, hoping to explain her daughter’s behavior, but not understanding it herself. “It was like she gave up her whole life to do this.”

Dawn Marie VadBunker during happier days

Dawn Marie VadBunker during happier days

Early in our conversation Laura expressed shock that two intelligent women could be drawn in and believe a man who tells him that he’s a half-alien hybrid working to save the world. I must admit I find it hard to believe, too. But let’s be real. Apparently, Jeff Lash had game. Most dudes couldn’t get women to go for that alien trip. But Lash did.

When I ask Laura point blank if she thinks Bob was an alien or not, Laura demurs. She won’t say no. It doesn’t seem realistic, but she won’t rule it out.

Her answer is born of an odd mix of skepticism and belief. “Our government says there’s no Area 51. Our government says there’s no UFOs. Our government says we’ve never recovered aliens. Well, we all know, if you do research on it, that’s a 100 percent lie. Because, apparently, we, as humans, cannot accept the truth that we are not the only ones here,” she says.

Laura claims a man came forward and said he worked with Jeffrey Alan Lash at the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA).

Laura says that Lash “told Dawn he was half alien, half man. He was a hybrid. He was a high security operative for a government agency that we don’t know about. And the only thing that I can think of that would be higher than the CIA is the DIA. There was also a man who came forth who sent us a picture and he said Bob worked with the DIA in 1996.”

“Wait, someone told you Bob worked for the DIA?” I ask, excited by her digression.

“Yes. Under a different name. It wasn’t Jeffrey Lash,” she says. “The man came forth from another agency that deals with extraterrestrials and things like that. What I got out of my conversations with Bob was that he was working on aliens. But you can’t find any information online about Bob or Catherine, just what their parents did. That seems very odd to me.”

I ask Laura about this DIA man, but she has no way for me to check on this guy or his story about Bob working for the DIA.

Later on, after I speak with Laura, I phone the DIA to confirm whether or not Lash ever worked for the agency. As you might imagine, the HR woman for the DIA whom I spoke with said, with a happy note coloring her voice, "I’m sorry we’re not going to be able to answer that question.”

Of course. It’s no great surprise that one of America’s most covert intelligence agencies will not confirm or deny the existence of a possible operative, even if he’s now deceased.

The other rationalization Laura uses to legitimize the idea that Lash was an alien hybrid is the fact that her daughter is still missing. Laura says that her adopted daughter is hiding from something. She thinks she’s scared. Laura tells me that she still receives Dawn Marie’s bank statements. Dawn Marie hasn’t spent a dollar since the day she disappeared. Laura wonders: Who’s paying for her daughter to eat? Who’s giving her shelter?

She may be her adopted daughter, but a mother is always a mother.

“As far as my daughter being lost in it, I don’t believe that she’s lost in it. I think she’s being taken care of very well because she’s not here. She’s being supported somehow. And she’s hiding. Is that the government? Is that Catherine paying for it? I have a million questions.”

Mixed in with her confusion, Laura feels betrayed by Dawn Marie’s ability to cut her out of her life so easily after all she and the VadBunker family did for their adopted daughter. Yet, mostly, Laura’s worried about Dawn Marie’s safety.

To find a place to make sense of her emotions, Laura leaves open a space of doubt: Maybe her daughter’s boss really was an alien hybrid working with the government. Otherwise, why isn’t my daughter coming home? Dawn Marie must be hiding from something or somebody.

Laura has yet to hear from her.

There is another possibility, of course. Dawn Marie’s boss may be taking care of her. Nebron-Gorin could be sheltering her and paying for her food. As far as we know, Nebron-Gorin has the means to support herself and someone else.

Her lawyer, Harland Braun, recently told the press, “[Nebron-Gorin] still very much believes that her dead fiancée was working with the CIA.” Perhaps Nebron-Gorin feels guilty for dragging her personal assistant into this hell of intergalactic super-spies and undercover black ops agents skulking in the dark, and she’s paying to hide the poor girl while she pulls herself back together. Maybe the handwritten letter Dawn Marie sent to her adoptive mother was legit. Maybe she is “with like-minded people” staying “in a place where she can heal.”

All we know for certain is that Nebron-Gorin is back in Los Angeles. She’s working with her lawyer, Braun, to make some sense of the chaos she calls her life. Her condo is a crime scene that’s suffered $300,000 in damages due to poorly built renovations such as walls and doors erected by Lash to ensure he felt safe in her townhouse. Now her fiancée is dead. Her personal assistant is missing or on the lam. And Nebron-Gorin is at the center of one of the strangest cases to happen in Los Angeles since Charles Manson was running deadly in the hills.

The LAPD was quick to determine that there was no foul play involved in the death of Jeffrey Alan Lash. All evidence paints such a picture. So, at least Nebron-Gorin is not a murder suspect. She has that going for her. Meanwhile, the LAPD is sorting through the $5 million dollars worth of guns in her condo. Once a probate court determines how to divide up the estate of her dead fiancé, perhaps then she can return to the business of getting on with her life.

The web sleuths online have speculated about whether Nebron-Gorin and Lash were espionage partners. Perhaps she was his fixer. Others felt she was his operator, and he was a deep cover mind control agent. He could have been a future presidential assassin, they say. Theories abound online. Everyone in the forums works so hard with so little information it often feels like someone trying to describe the 1970s using one single episode of The Brady Bunch.

One question I keep wondering about is rather simple: Why did he need or want so many guns? What if he was holding them like a bank for other gun nuts? What if when a guy rolled in to Los Angeles he could swing on over to Bob’s House of Guns, pick up a sniper rifle and be on his merry way? You see where I’m going. How could a guy buy that many crazy-ass guns and not catch the attention of the FBI or the ATF? How the hell can one man build a huge arsenal in a condo without anyone ever noticing?

When I phone the ATF, the woman I speak with tells me the ATF will answer what questions it can, but I need to understand that it’s an ongoing LAPD investigation so the agency won’t be able to answer all my questions. We set a time to meet, and I head over to the ATF field office in Glendale.

Waiting in the lobby, I’m surprised by how casual everyone is. You kind of expect the ATF to be like a semi-militarized command center from the movies. But like everything else in this case, it’s nothing like you expect.

Special Agent Meredith Davis steps out of the elevator and immediately I know I’m in trouble. She’s attractive. Damn it, Burnett, you’re a journalist. You can’t let the government distract you by throwing a stunning special agent at you to answer your questions.

She smiles, introduces herself, and I can’t hear anything other than the sunshine in her Southern accent. If I had to guess I’d say she’s a Texan. Behind her wide and friendly smile I see her eyes gauging me, taking her initial read. This special agent is a total pro. I wonder how many of my questions she’ll answer.

In her office Special Agent Davis shows me pictures that document a new trend in guns. People are machining their own guns–not 3D printing them, but stamping and then cutting metal with computer design. It’s a way to get around buying and legally registering guns. Where there is a will, there is always a new way.

Since I’m unfamiliar with the intricacies of federal gun laws, Davis has generously offered to explain how gun licensing and registration works in America. I’m hoping she’ll also tell me if and how the ATF is involved in the Lash mystery.

Once we get down to the business of the Lash cache of guns, I start out with a simple question of jurisdiction, “Why is this an LAPD case and not one for the FBI?”

“Why do you think it would be the FBI and not LAPD—in my mind, I don’t see why it would be the FBI,” Davis parries my question with ease.

“You’re right—there is no specific crime. There’s just a dead body. But there was the search for the missing Oxnard woman that brought national attention to the case. Of course, she was found unharmed, so, no crime there, either. But what do you think about the well-armed dead man? Like, maybe he was a major West Coast distributor of sniper rifles for survivalists and paranoid extremists. Is that too Hollywood?” I ask.

“I don’t see any federal crime. Who would be the defendant in this case?” Davis says, refusing to entertain any pointless speculation without evidence. She sticks to the reality of actionable evidence, saying, “There’s no further investigation needed on something that’s legally obtained.”

If you’re wondering how it’s legal for a man to buy, register and store a 1,200-gun arsenal in a residential Los Angeles townhouse, you’re about to learn it’s not that difficult at all.

In California, state law requires a 10-day wait period whenever you buy a gun. During that time the FBI runs a check to ensure you aren’t prohibited from owning a firearm.

Other states only follow the federally mandated 72-hour waiting period. At the end of the three days a gun dealer may choose to hand over the firearm to the new owner. However, sometimes, after the gun owner takes possession of the new firearm, the FBI discovers the person isn’t legally allowed to own a firearm. The FBI asks the ATF to go out and get the gun back. This is rare in California because of the longer 10-day waiting period.

In California, where Lash presumably bought his guns, all firearm purchases require an FFL (Federal Firearms License). That includes gun shows and private sales.

If a father dies and bequeaths a family heirloom firearm to his son, that transaction requires an FFL. If you are a prohibited person you can’t take possession of the gun. There are nine reasons that disqualify a person from having a gun permit. They include reasons such as: being a felon, being an illegal alien (no jokes, please) or if one is a fugitive from justice, has a conviction for domestic assault or is subject to a domestic restraining order.

So, according to federal and state law, Jeffrey Alan Lash legitimately purchased and licensed his guns. One might think that so many guns registered in the same name, or one person consistently purchasing so many guns, particularly, high-powered sniper rifles, might grab the attention of one or more of the state and federal agencies that checks gun owners and gun ownership records. But Lash never triggered a home visit from the FBI or ATF. Why is that?

How does someone like Lash stay off of everyone’s radar? What sort of national gun registration records does the ATF keep and monitor?

Davis’s answer is to the point. “There’s no gun registry. It is not permitted by federal law for us to keep any type of electronic firearms records or registry.”

“You guys can keep a paper record or registry but not electronic records? So, that’s what slows down the FBI’s check?” I ask, imagining all the microfiche required.

She nods, patiently. “Yes. We perform our duties within the constraints of the United States Code.”

“Then how does the ATF track guns and gun buyers?” I ask, unsure I want to hear the answer.

Davis takes a breath. Her eyes sparkle like she’s been waiting for this moment to help the ATF be better understood by a layman like me.

“Federal law requires manufacturers and importers to put the manufacturer’s name, a serial number, the model, the caliber or gauge, then the city and state of the manufacturer or importer on every gun they make. Also, the country of origin, if it’s imported. Because the manufacturers are required to put this on there, we can perform a trace. In this case, we’re talking about Mr. Lash, but this could be applied to anyone, and any gun you find in the street. You pick it up. You see that it has Colt on the side of it. You call Colt and they say, ‘Yeah, here’s the serial number. And this is who we sold it to or who we shipped it to.’ So, we contact the gun store. And the gun store identifies who the last legal purchaser was. In a perfect world, that person is in possession of the firearm. In California, if it was sold again, there needs to be another 4473, if it was a private sale. If it was in Texas, you aren’t required to fill out any paperwork for a private sale. You can stand on the corner and have an AK-47 for sale–”

“So, wait, in Texas, right next to a little girl’s lemonade stand a guy could have a yard sale for his machine guns?” I ask.

“Yep!” she says. We both laugh, although it’s not terribly funny if you think about it.

“In Texas, if a guy walks up to you to buy a gun, you’re not required to ask if they are a prohibited person, but you can’t know that they’re prohibited from owning a gun,” Davis says. “But in California they’re able to take a few shortcuts, because they have the registry. If other states voted to pass a registry then they could do that as well and use the E-trace program.”

Davis and the ATF are fans of the state-based program called E-trace because federal law prohibits a national database. If a state opts into the registry, the state must collect its own records and can make them available to federal agencies such as the ATF. The E-trace program allows for faster processing than sorting through tangible records.

“You’d think if all of his guns were legally purchased in California all of those required permits and licenses would raise some suspicion—someone would notice this same name coming up, over and over again, month after month, as he keeps buying high-powered sniper rifles and hunting rifles. But no one noticed Jeffrey Alan Lash build his arsenal,” I say, not really asking a question.

Davis explains in calm, warm, round Southern syllables, “You can purchase as many guns as you like. There is no federal law about how many guns you can purchase at one time, and there’s no federal law about how many guns you can have in your home, office or boat. There just isn’t. Now, states can regulate that.”

I ask, “If it’s perfectly legal for someone to amass an arsenal of 1,200 guns, how do you guys distinguish someone with malicious intent who hoards a bunch of guns and someone who happens to be a gun collector? Is there any discernible pattern that sets off red flags? Is there a point a person passes a threshold or crosses a line or files enough gun permits that elicits say a home visit from the FBI or ATF?”

“We do monitor what we call multiple sales,” Davis says. “If a person purchases two or more handguns–a pistol or a revolver–within a period of five consecutive business days, a multiple sales form needs to be filled out. We’ve found that the preponderance of evidence is there that people buying more than one handgun at one time may be involved in some sort of illegal activity that needs to be monitored.”

This “multiple sales monitoring” seems to be aimed at gangbangers buying guns.

But if someone like Lash is patient and buys a gun every week, no one would ever need to fill out this form. If someone’s smart enough to avoid the multiple purchases reporting, and he’s not issued a deny/delay from the FBI because he doesn’t meet any of the nine reasons to disqualify him, in effect, an American citizen can stockpile guns forever, or at least, as Lash did, until the day he died.

“What it all comes down to is firearms are a lawful trade. It’s a commodity. It’s milk,” Davis says in a matter-of-fact tone.

“What about ammunition? What if someone buys copious amounts of ammunition?” I ask.

“Ammunition is not something that’s serialized or recorded like firearms are,“ Davis says. "If a dealer feels that someone is purchasing it for nefarious reasons they’ll usually call.”

“Do firearms dealers have an FBI tip line?” I ask.

“There’s an ATF tip line,” she says.

“What if someone is a former government agent—let’s say, a CIA agent, since that’s what Lash claimed to be—would that come up in a FBI gun license check?” I ask.

“No,” she says. “Employment is not one of the prohibitors to a gun purchase.”

“But if they’re former military—that is on someone’s gun-buying record, correct?” I ask.

“A dishonorable discharge is a prohibitor for firearms purchase,” Davis says.

“So, we have no idea how many former FBI agents have guns, no idea how many former CIA agents have stockpiles of weapons? There’s no way to know if a former sheriff’s deputy gets fired and goes on a gun-buying spree?” I ask.

“No, we don’t have any sort of database like that,” Davis says.

Obviously, this guy wasn’t a domestic terrorist, maybe he was just a gun lover.

“This is not the first person that I’ve encountered with that many guns,” she says. “The number is not astounding to me at all.”

“Where would the threshold for astounding be? Is 10,000 guns astounding?” I ask.

“Yes, that’s a lot of guns,” Davis laughs.

It’s nice to know there is an obscene number of guns one person can own.

“For a wealthy individual who is a hobbyist in firearms to have a collection of up to 2,000 guns—I have seen that, a handful of times, but I’ve seen that,” Davis says. “Now, these are very wealthy hobbyists. They don’t have a yacht. Some people choose to have a yacht. Some people choose to buy a racehorse or a jet. They choose to buy unique and custom firearms. That’s not inherently illegal. They’re written into the Constitution.”

I hear myself agreeing with Davis, “True. Technically, guns are no more dangerous than water. You can kill a person with two gallons of water.”

“Sure,” she laughs again, which kind of surprises me. Normally, any casual mention of how you can kill a person with water tends to make others uncomfortable. But she’s not like most people. If you judge Davis by her blonde hair and easy smile, she doesn’t look to me like someone who’d make guns her stock and trade. And that’s how appearances mislead you. Special Agent Meredith Davis has an unexpected toughness. She’s kind of like a steel-belted sunflower.

She finishes by explaining why Lash wasn’t on anyone’s radar, telling me, “When people see the number of guns, it’s impressive. But it’s not like it was 1,200 pounds of marijuana or cocaine–something that’s prohibited or something that’s inherently illegal. Guns are things that have always been part of our culture. It’s not an illegal commodity. It’s just what he chose to spend his money on.”

This rationale comes up often when explaining Jeffrey Alan Lash.

How did Lash come to possess all of those guns? Some of that question can be answered by Lash’s lawyer, Bob Rentzer. The Los Angeles-based attorney has worked some high-profile cases in his career, such as the Rodney King case, and now he seems to be nearing retirement, doing a victory lap.

For the last 15 years Rentzer has considered himself Lash’s on-call lawyer, even though he has not seen nor heard from his client in roughly a decade. As Rentzer puts it, he remained “on call to him, and he was on call to me—until all of his stolen guns showed up.”

You see, 15 years ago Jeffrey Alan Lash suffered a burglary, and a large cache of guns was stolen from him. He filed a police report. And he filed an insurance claim on the stolen guns. He was paid out on the stolen guns. Following the robbery, his guns were discovered all around Los Angeles by the LAPD. They were returned to him as they were recovered.

However, after the insurance company paid out on the stolen guns, it learned that Lash was in possession of some guns he’d claimed were stolen. The company filed charges of insurance fraud against Lash. All of his guns were impounded and seized by the court as evidence in the case. His attorney, Bob Rentzer, helped Lash fight the case and get the fraud charges dismissed. With his legal assistance, Rentzer got the county courts to return Lash’s stolen guns to him. The memory of losing his guns, twice—first to theft, and second to the courts—would stick with Lash and motivate him in the future.

That case has nothing to do with his death. It’s just evidence that the LAPD was aware that Jeffrey Alan Lash was one well-armed citizen.

List of Lash

List of Lash’s Stolen Guns provided by attorney Bob Rentzer

Because he spent quality time with the mystery man at the center of all this madness, I ask Lash’s attorney Rentzer, “What was Jeffrey Alan Lash like?”

“When we went out to the Lost Hills Station to recover—what I think was a couple hundred guns at that time—they actually had inmates loading the truck when we arrived. Not the sheriff’s personnel but the people who were in custody. They were handling the weapons. That just blew my mind,” Rentzer says. “But all of the guns were wrapped in wax paper and then sealed. They’d never been fired. Never been cleaned, total collector’s items. He was upset because he saw that they’d unwrapped one. And he said: in his mind, that destroyed the pristine and original condition of the gun.”

So Lash was one of those kids who preferred to leave his toys in their box, in order to protect them from—this is where his psychology gets tricky. We won’t speculate about why Lash wanted his guns to be pristine, untouched, unsullied by the hands of state prisoners. But surely it shows his need and deep desire for a level of control.

Rentzer continues, “He asked me, ‘I don’t want to have the LAPD come and take my guns away again… What do I do? I want to be low-profile.’ I told him, ‘Get a storage locker and don’t tell anybody where it is, including me. I don’t want to know where they are.’”

It appears Lash did just that. Nebron-Gorin’s attorney, Braun, has speculated that Lash may have paid rent in advance for ten years on multiple storage units that are filled with guns, assault vehicles and possibly materials to build explosives, and the storage units are located across the L.A. basin. No one knows where they are. Not even Lash’s lawyer.

If Rentzer’s portrait of Lash as a legal gun collector is accurate, it still leaves a few questions: Was Lash a former undercover agent? Also, if anyone knows if Lash was an alien human hybrid, you’d think it would be his lawyer. I ask Rentzer about his client’s humanity.

“What was Lash like to deal with, personally? Was he a pleasant client? Was he a demanding client?”

“He was very, very nice to me,” Rentzer says. “He wasn’t demanding at all. Very friendly. In fact, he’d been to the house several times. He was always welcome at the house. I tell you we had an attorney-client relationship, but we also had a very cordial, friendly relationship. We would go out to dinner together. I was friends with his father—that’s how I met Jeff.”

“Did his father recommend you as legal counsel?” I ask.

“Yes, when he had the gun problem his father told him to contact me,” Rentzer says.

“Was his father how he could afford so many guns? Because I haven’t been able to find any record of Lash having regular employment for the last three decades. And I can’t figure out how an unemployed man could afford to buy so many firearms.”

Rentzer sees me coming.

“I have no idea how he afforded the guns. Some have said his father had certain patents. His father was a chemist. And supposedly he had patents; maybe he was getting royalties. Someone suggested that to me just recently.”

It sounds like Lash’s lawyer has been listening to the news more than sourcing his own memories. I try a new line of questioning: “Lash never told you how he was paying for the guns. He didn’t have to provide receipts to reclaim his guns. Did he ever mention his line of work?”

“I had no idea how he was getting his money. He didn’t ever appear to have a job. Like, he was always available at all times during the day. It was never like, ‘I’ll see you after work.’ I don’t think he ever used the word work in any of our conversations,” Lash’s longtime lawyer says.

“Did he ever tell you he was a former undercover government agent, or that he was a black ops personnel?”

Rentzer laughs dismissively, “No. And if he was … he would’ve told me. That’s ridiculous, son. They never would file criminal charges on him on any of his cases if he were a government agent. They would have brought disciplinary proceedings against him when that case was filed criminally against him for insurance fraud.”

This is one of the first rational dismissals I’ve heard for why Jeffrey Alan Lash was not a secret agent—he has a criminal record. It’s not much. In 2009, Lash was stopped by police in his vehicle in Culver City. Lash was charged with carrying a concealed weapon, which is a misdemeanor. However, his case was later dismissed because his firearm and ammunition had been properly stored. But there is a police report. According to his longtime attorney Rentzer there wouldn’t be one if he were a secret agent.

“How would you describe Jeffrey Alan Lash so someone can understand who he was?” I ask.

Rentzer pauses, thinks a moment, and says, “A bright, average, ordinary guy, with an extraordinary interest in guns.”

“He never explained to you why he loved guns so much?” I ask.

“How do you explain love? He loved guns. You can’t explain love, it’s an emotional feeling,” Rentzer says.

One of the first people to give an in-depth portrait of Jeffrey Alan Lash was KFI radio reporter Eric Leonard. In an exclusive KFI-AM interview, Leonard told listeners about Lash. The radio reporter said he spoke with Lash on a few occasions. The reason why he hopped in the booth of The John and Ken Show, a news show, was to lay to waste some of the more outrageous rumors swirling around the Lash mystery. And set the record straight on who this man really was.

KFI-AM crime reporter Eric Leonard

KFI-AM crime reporter Eric Leonard

What follows is taken from transcription of the KFI-AM radio interview:

“Part of my job is to know lots of unusual people,” Leonard said. “And in those travels, I wound up crossing paths with this guy.”

Then he lays out what all he knows of Jeffrey Alan Lash.

“Lash was a very, very interesting character. When I first ran across him, about 15 years ago, he was a very wealthy person, who was extremely secretive about everything in his personal life. He didn’t want people he met to even know his name. He was paranoid, clearly. And that paranoia got worse over the years—he thought he would become the target of outside evil forces who wanted to take his things, steal his money, get hold of his gun collection, which was really one of his prize possessions…”

That’s how Eric Leonard describes the same man whom lawyer Bob Rentzer calls “a bright, average, ordinary guy, with an extraordinary interest in guns.” Both men met Lash at roughly the same time in his life. However, unlike Rentzer, the radio reporter Leonard claims to have kept abreast of Lash updates over the recent years. He said…

“It appeared that he told friends and others that he had ALS, but it may have been something else. He knew, maybe, two years ago that he was going to suffer a horrible death, and he had begun planning for that. And he was living his life in a way that everybody would find highly unusual.”

Perhaps Leonard really was in Lash’s trust, and he really did know of the man’s plans for how he wanted to die. Luckily for listeners, not satisfied to speculate, Leonard doubled down with his personal take on Lash.

“To the best of my knowledge, and from the few interactions I had with him, and certainly from the stories that the people who knew him much better than me that I knew told me: he was kind of a harmless kook. He was somebody who was very well-off, and if he didn’t have money and means he probably would’ve been treated by society very, very differently.”

That is what you call an epic understatement. Lash was a well-armed, paranoid man who was holed-up in a Los Angeles townhouse with an arsenal you could use to take over most Caribbean nations. If he were a poor Muslim man, or a middle-class black man, and police found all those guns in his condo, he definitely would not have been called a “harmless kook,” as Leonard puts it.

Yet, a rich well-armed white guy, he’s harmlessly kooky.

One of the KFI hosts asked Leonard if Lash ever had a job, and Leonard explained it like this:

“He never worked a day as far as I knew. The money came from his father’s side. He had a mother and father. They’re both deceased. He has no relatives. Anywhere. No brothers, no sisters. He was the end of the line. He was the sole recipient of his family’s wealth. But he was extremely evasive about where that came from. But the best I’ve been able to deduce, his father worked in science, and had patents that were licensed, and were involved in some very, very, heavily used pharmaceuticals. And the royalties from that came in the millions. Millions and millions and millions of dollars. When I first met him he was receiving a disbursement from the family trust somewhere in the neighborhood—and this is an educated guess—somewhere in the neighborhood of thirty or forty thousand dollars a week.”

Finally, we have some solid numbers. People seem certain his father was the source of his extreme wealth. Do me a favor and remember this figure: $30,000 to $40,000. That’s $30K per week Lash was said to be receiving for royalties from patents for pharmaceuticals his father invented.

For those of you, like me, who aren’t good at math, that works out to $1.56 million to $2.08 million dollars per year.

That would certainly pay for an arsenal the size of what Lash amassed. The seized weapons, the 1,200 guns, have been roughly estimated to be worth $5 million.

The radio reporter Leonard seems to have fit some puzzle pieces together.

Does he have any answers about if Lash was working as a black ops agent?

“From everything I know, it’s very unlikely. Especially because the two people I know that know him are the real deal. They’re involved with actual stuff with actual agencies. And they are very serious individuals.”

So, Lash was likely not a secret agent man. OK. But what about the alien rumors first circulated by Laura VadBunker, the mother of Dawn Marie, the missing personal assistant?

“I’m steering clear of the alien talk.” Leonard said, refusing to play along.

Seems like we almost know who Jeffrey Alan Lash is…

The only trouble is, Rentzer and Leonard are both wrong.

It’s true Lash’s father was a successful scientist. But he wasn’t a chemist. He was a microbiologist. Those dudes very rarely patent anything, certainly nothing worth millions and millions of dollars to a pharmaceutical company.

Plus, there’s no record of any patents in his father’s name. This is not a difficult thing to check with the Patent Office. Additionally, if one were receiving that much legit income there would be a paper trail. Somewhere. There’d be something in the public record that corroborates that income. But there’s nothing like that for Jeffrey Alan Lash. Or his father.

His father did have a live-in girlfriend. Lash’s common-law stepmother is still kicking up dust. She’s 93 and lives modestly. She says Lash wasn’t in contact with the family for at least a decade and that she doesn’t know anything about any patents or millions in a trust fund.

So, no one really knows how Lash could buy all those guns. And the best answer we have for why he’d want to have so many guns around is: he loved them.

Also no one seems worried Lash was part of an underground network, or that he was exchanging guns with other paranoid gun-strokes just like him. If his arsenal is all legit, the authorities could care less about his guns. That means his guns are a dead end.

But the truth is out there.

The folks over at the Palisadian-Post were the ones who first broke this story. Working from a tip its editor-in-chief received, the community newspaper had a photographer slip in close enough to capture images of the LAPD clearing the guns from the townhouse, as well as the possible explosives, and of course, the $230,000 in cash. (The Pali-Post published most of the pictures of his guns and cash that have been recycled all over the Internet.)

Crime reporter Alexandria Bordas and editor-in-chief Frances Sharpe are the people who have primarily worked the Lash story for the paper. Well-known in the community, Sharpe has often relied on her network of local contacts. In this case, she’s passed those tips to her young crime reporter to follow the trail and see what shakes loose. I want to hear what theories they’ve developed. I email the reporter, Bordas, for an interview. Perhaps worried I’m trying to swoop in on her big story she invites her editor, Sharpe, to join us for our chat.

The office of the Palisadian-Post is next to a library. It’s in an office building that feels more like you’re going to meet with your tax attorney or a dental surgeon.

When I meet Bordas, she’s just as energetic and hard-charging as her sentences suggest. She grips my hand with a firm handshake and introduces herself. I notice Bordas has the sort of eyes that shine with confidence. After welcoming me, she takes me to the editor-in-chief’s office and introduces me to her boss, Sharpe. She’s a friendly and competent pro who one can tell has been at this game for awhile. (Full disclosure: She’s a former Playboy employee.)

To break the ice we all three share a laugh about how strange this story is. It gets stranger the more you know about it. We swap theories like town gossips. And being that we’re cynical journalists, we quickly kill the best fun there is and agree that we all find the alien human hybrid story absolutely ridiculous. That said, it is terribly amusing to imagine a doctor working in the 1950s secretly splicing DNA from an alien together with a human to make a baby and then asking his assistant to raise that creature as his own child. Forget MasterCard. That shit’s priceless.

After jettisoning the alien option from the table, we write off the idea Lash was a secret agent fighting to save humanity. It’s fun, but there’s not much evidence there to support the theory.

So, what was his deal then?

They tell me they have an exciting new lead, one they need to follow up on. They got a hot tip from a local who knew Lash and/or his fiancée Catherine Nebron-Gorin. But they can’t tell me about it.

I bring up a detail that the Pali-Post uncovered, one that I keep focusing on—it’s something a neighbor mentioned. Every night, a blonde woman would drive up in a Mercedes Benz and stop at his townhouse. Just like with all Lash’s vehicles, her car had no license plates. She’d drop-off a green trash bag on the front step. Then, she’d drive away. She did this every night. She was as reliable as the moon. The green trash bag ritual seems like it’s important. I ask them what they think was in the bag. One must assume it wasn’t terribly heavy if this blonde woman was carrying it to the door every night. We guess money, drugs—all the obvious things.

Bordas says she spoke with a neighbor who mentioned the green trash bag ritual. They’d said they were also curious about it. But they never went over and opened a bag. Then, Lash died. And the bags stopped showing up.

Sharpe steps out of the office to check on something. Bordas and I continue talking; we both agree. The best way to solve this case will be to follow the money.

It appears to be the only trail left.

As I wait for the LAPD to release an autopsy report, I hunt for evidence that Lash was earning any income from his father or from that side of his family. There’s nothing. I check a new email from Bordas. She mentions the tip. It’s now breaking news. They’re going to publish it the next day. She can’t tell me everything, but what she found is huge. I offer to get her dinner so I can hear the latest.

We meet on the Westside, in a cozy upscale cafe that serves trendy healthy dishes and sells atmosphere. She gets a rice dish. I opt for pasta and soup. It’s a bad choice. It looks good, but it tastes like I’m eating beautiful pictures ripped from a cookbook. I find welcome distraction in the Lash mystery, which, we both immediately start talking about. We leave our paper-flavored food to chill in the night breeze.

Bordas tells me that the Pali-Post followed the money, and it didn’t lead back to Lash’s father. Or to a secret government agency. Or, like I keep hoping, to some extremist survivalist group. Instead, the money led to another woman.

One who is not Lash’s fiancee, Catherine Nebron-Gorin.

When the Pali-Post contacted this other woman, she had a lawyer, because, like everyone involved, she lawyered up. From her attorney, Bordas heard a whole new side of the story. She and her editor-in-chief, Sharpe, took the new revelations back to Harland Braun, Nebron-Gorin’s lawyer. The Pali-Post asked him for a comment.

Braun saw the risks and possible danger of this other woman entering the picture. But it was also leverage against the hastily assembled nine cousins looking to scoop up the $5 million in guns and whatever else and divvy it up amongst themselves. Being that he’s a well-practiced, big time L.A. lawyer, Braun played the angles and worked the new revelation as much as he could to help his client’s best interest.

Braun negotiated for the Pali-Post to get an exclusive tour of Nebron-Gorin’s condo, where the dead man had lived. Bordas would finally see the inside of the townhouse where he kept all his guns and pierce the steel veil of secrecy that surrounded Lash and Nebron-Gorin’s life together.

As Bordas tells me about the updates, I can see her excitement brimming in her eyes. It’s terribly charming and makes me like her all the more. But she also holds back all the juiciest parts. I get that she has to hold back her big scoop from me until the paper goes out the next day. That’s how it goes. I ask Bordas if the mysterious blonde with the trash bags is involved. She only nods. I admire her professionalism as much as I’m dying to know what she knows.

The next day, as soon as I wake up, I drive to the Pacific Palisades and buy a newspaper. I see that the Lash story won’t be in the paper until the next day. Damn it. As I drive home, I get an email from Bordas, it’s marked: Breaking News.

I pull over so I can read it. It‘s the story. The whole story. She’s done it.

Alexandria Bordas and the Pali-Post cracked open the impenetrable mystery of Jeffrey Alan Lash.

The other woman was the key.

Jeffrey Alan Lash had not only one other but a few other women in his life. And they, not him, were the ones paying for all his guns, his ammo, his assault vehicles, all of it.

Not only did he have his fiancé Nebron-Gorin funding his life and caring for him, there was also a woman named Michelle Lyons, whom Lash was intimate with, and who also funneled her money into his arsenal. She had money because she’s the single owner of a lucrative consulting service that primarily works with lawyers. Her attorney estimates that she bought at least a million dollars in guns over the years.

Just like Lash, she wanted to buy the guns so she could feel love. Not her love for guns—guns were a way to show her love to the man she knew as Jeffrey Alan Lash. Long ago, he had convinced Lyons that he loved her. But due to his lifestyle as a secret agent she would have to keep their love a secret. Apparently, this included hiding it from Lash’s fiancé, Nebron-Gorin, whom he lived with.

Lyons knew he lived with her. Lyons was the blonde in the Mercedes Benz that had no license plates. And the green trash bags that she dropped off every night? They were filled with special foods for Lash to eat the next day. According to her lawyer, Robert Cohen, for 31 years Lyons never took a vacation because she wanted to always be there for Lash.

It may seem dubious, but Lyons believed that Nebron-Gorin was just Lash’s roommate and business partner. And that she was the secret agent’s true love.

Even stranger (if the term even still applies), the two women also spoke on the phone every day. Both Lyons and Nebron-Gorin secretly believed they were the only one for Lash. And for more than a decade, apparently, neither woman ever mentioned their relationship with Lash to the other. Meanwhile, Lash had both women caring for him and buying him guns like the manufacturers were about to stop making them.

From the Pali-Post’s exposé of what went on in the townhouse, we learn that Lash kept plastic life-size animals in his living room, presumably, for target practice.

(photo by Scott Ross)

(photo by Scott Ross)

As you see from the pictures, there are just piles and piles of expensive stuff. Not only did he hoard guns, but Lash also had an estimated 50,000 DVDs and 60,000 CDs.

(photo by Scott Ross)

(photo by Scott Ross)

It’s worth noting that he seemed to love pop music circa 2000, like, Justin Timberlake. This may seem stupid or just kind of silly. Until you learn that he also read books with titles like What Women Want.

(photo by Scott Ross)

(photo by Scott Ross)

Remember, he’s a secret agent. Plus, if he had these women buying him millions of dollars worth of guns, one would hope he was at least tongue-pleasing them pretty regularly.

But there’s also plenty of evidence he was not pleasuring women as much as he was using them to gratify his paranoid fantasies. In fact, Nebron-Gorin claims in her case that she was a victim of relentless abuse.

According to her lawyer, Braun, for a period of three years Nebron-Gorin was living in her bathroom. Lash locked her away in the condo that she owned. She slept on the floor on yoga mats and used a toilet mat for a pillow. There was no running water in the bathroom. She convinced a neighbor to let her use their shower and toilet when she needed it. From handwritten notes pasted on the walls of the bathroom it appears it was intended as some form of isolation therapy. At the end of one note, there appears to be a woman’s handwriting, and it reads:

“Keep your head.
If he can, I can.
If he can, I can.”

(photo by Scott Ross)

(photo by Scott Ross)

As reported by her attorney Braun, to this day, Nebron-Gorin believes that her fiancé was in the CIA, that he was a black ops agent, and that she was helping him save the world. Presumably, from the stories her personal assistant Dawn Marie shared with her adopted mother, Nebron-Gorin also believes that Lash was an alien hybrid. Who knows?

All we do know is he wrapped her up in his fantasy. Until, it became hers, too.

There’s a psychological term for when a captive identifies with their captor. We call it the Stockholm Syndrome. From what little we know, Nebron-Gorin exhibits all the major telltale behaviors.

His safety, and her need to be strong, seem to be the rationales for why Nebron-Gorin slept on her bathroom floor for years. Lash’s fantasy required these women to give over their whole lives to him.

And now he’s gone.

From the townhouse, both the Pali-Post and Braun’s private investigators discovered that there may be many other women in Lash’s life. He seemed to like a type: smart, successful, loyal, romance-minded, middle-aged white women who had a lot of disposable money and no one who would notice them spending it.

There were love notes discovered from Lyons to Lash, indicating that she felt they had a very deep love connection. There were love letters from another woman, Juliann. Prior to moving in with Nebron-Gorin, Lash had been living with another woman named Jocelyn. It’s presumed their relationship was intimate as well. There were an unknown number of women circling him, spending long dollars to help him attain the love he desired by buying him guns.

When the LAPD finally releases its autopsy report, identifying the dead man as Jeffrey Alan Lash, no cause of death is determined. Some mysteries remain.

When the truth finally emerges, it’s far from alien. In fact, it’s very human. A charming, self-deluding man exploited and abused the women in his life to fuel his dreams and to gain access to money and power. Then, he died.

Instead of an alien human hybrid working to save the planet, Jeffrey Alan Lash was like a more charismatic, less murderous Charles Manson. He convinced women who trusted him that the world was flawed, and he was its savior. He told lonely people that they were vitally important. He said they were integral to helping him save the world. There are more than 50 ways to spot a cult leader. Here’s just a handful, and you’ll notice Lash exemplifies all those listed. If you check this full list, you’ll see he seems to hit all 50.

  1. Demands blind unquestioned obedience.
  2. Requires excessive admiration from followers and outsiders.
  3. Has a sense of entitlement—expecting to be treated special at all times.
  4. Is exploitative of others by asking for their money or that of relatives putting others at financial risk.
  5. Is arrogant and haughty in his behavior or attitude.
  6. Has an exaggerated sense of power (entitlement) that allows him to bend rules and break laws.

When Lash died, his fiancée and her personal assistant mummified his body as he’d instructed and then abandoned his dead body for higher powers to take him away. He was dead and gone, and they still did just as he’d carefully instructed them.

rare photo of Jeffrey Alan Lash

rare photo of Jeffrey Alan Lash

Like Mansons’s followers, the women who loved Jeffrey Alan Lash were loyal to him. One wonders if they could or would have killed for him. But he never asked them to cross the threshold of homicide, as far as anyone knows. Instead he insisted they murder their own lives. He asked them to kill their own freedom, murder any chances they had for love and friendship outside of his influence. They happily strangled decades in the delusion that they loved Jeffrey Alan Lash, and that he loved them. That their love was special. This is why they bought him an arsenal of guns—to give him what he wanted, to express their love for him and to make the supposed spy feel safe. We always want to protect those we love.

In the end there’s not much mystery to it—it’s as human a story as you’ll ever hear.

Zaron Burnett is a roving correspondent for Playboy. Follow him on Twitter: Zaron3

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